When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saving the Environment, Saving the Bottom Line

(World's Best Flyers Making Fun Of Other Flyers | Happy Place)


"Vegan? Vegan, vegetarian or vegan-curious? Casual nonjudgmental support & opportunities to connect! Monthly meetups within the community
Carnivore? Chances are you dont need some wimpy support group. Keep being AWESOME!"

Links - 28th August 2011

"Don't worry if you're a kleptomaniac, you can always take something for it." - Unknown


Amid Rise of Multiculturalism, Dutch Confront Their Questions of Identity - "Ms. Kuhlman has lived in the Slotervaart neighborhood for 36 years but says, “I no longer feel at home.” Built in the 1950s, Slotervaart is now about 60 percent immigrants or their children, most from Morocco or Turkey. Crime rates are high, especially among the second generation. She remembered sunbathing topless on her balcony in the 1980s. “It’s inconceivable now,” she said. “Now my next-door neighbor doesn’t even greet me in the hallway, he can’t look at me, and it’s been 28 years,” Ms. Kuhlman said. Then she laughed bitterly. “He doesn’t work; I work. I work all shifts. I pay taxes. I work for them!”... “They didn’t speak Dutch, they didn’t know Holland, and they saw the sexual revolution, feminism and youth anarchism as a provocation, as part of a decadent society,” Mr. Marcouch said. He remembers his father saying with contempt, “Women are the bosses here.”

Democrats put politics ahead of policy -- again - "Obama's repeated concessions to Republicans all have a pattern, and it's not courting centrist voters. Rather, it's an attempt to jockey for better position -- in terms of framing and fundraising -- in the 2012 elections... Obama's firmness on [abortion] stems from the abortion lobby's central role in Democratic fundraising networks... liberal principles took a back seat to 2012 fundraising"

Internet browsing at work? It's a pause that refreshes workers and enhances their productivity, new research finds - ""Rather than reducing cyberloafing, excessive monitoring increases its frequency, as employees invariably view such policies as a form of mistrust that the company has in them. In view of this, managers must recognize that blanket policies that prohibit all forms of personal Web usage are ineffective, and excessive monitoring is likely to be counterproductive. Instead, limited amount of personal Web use should be allowed, since it has salubrious impact on employees' productivity"... the Internet browsers were 16% more productive than the rest-break group and 39% more productive than the control group. In addition, compared to both of the other groups, the browsers reported significantly lower levels of mental exhaustion and boredom and significantly higher levels psychological engagement... Internet browsing enhances psychological engagement with work -- and possibly job creativity as well -- whereas e-mails "negatively affect employees' ability to concentrate on work.""

Dirty truth: Guys' pads have 15 times more germs - "After testing for germs on four common surfaces — TV remotes, coffee tables, nightstands and doorknobs — scientists learned that bachelor pads contain 15 times the amount of bacteria than do the homes of bachelorettes"
I'm very sure this is a large reason explaining why women do more housework than men - they simply have higher hygiene standards. One does not have to appeal to sexism or patriarchy to come up with claims about women being forced to do housework

Too clean girls at risk of allergies, asthma as women - "The higher rates of allergies and asthma are seen in adult women probably because parents ensure that they do not get dirty when they are young"
See above

Mum, the bear is eating me: Final terrified phone calls of teen Olga Moskalyova - "Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals mauled her."

'Voodoo' row as the Lottery gives £200k to spiritual healers available on NHS - "Alternative medicines such as healing or homeopathy have been gaining acceptance in the NHS, thanks to the backing of influential figures such as Prince Charles"

Peeves: Anti-Americanisms - "Many share one or more of these features:
1) selective hyper-literalism: refusal to understand idioms as such
2) amnesia, or else the " recency illusion": A belief that something quite old is new
3) simple anti-Americanism: the belief that if something is ugly, it must have come from the states"

Brain-eating amoebas blamed in three deaths

The Failure of Liberal Bioethics - NYTimes.com - "From embryo experimentation to selective reduction to the eugenic uses of abortion, liberals always promise to draw lines and then never actually manage to draw them. Like Dr. Evans, they find reasons to embrace each new technological leap while promising to resist the next one — and then time passes, science marches on, and they find reasons why the next moral compromise, too, must be accepted for the greater good, or at least tolerated in the name of privacy and choice. You can always count on them to worry, often perceptively, about hypothetical evils, potential slips down the bioethical slope. But they’re either ineffectual or accommodating once an evil actually arrives. Tomorrow, they always say — tomorrow, we’ll draw the line. But tomorrow never comes"
Addendum: keywords - in vitro, slippery slope, test tube

The DNA Age - Prenatal Test Puts Down Syndrome in Hard Focus - NYTimes.com - "Their goal, parents say, is not to force anyone to take on the task of parenting a child with disabilities. Many participants in the ad-hoc movement describe themselves as pro-choice. Yet some see themselves as society’s first line of defense against a use of genetic technology that can border on eugenics... Others admit freely to a selfish motive for their new activism. “If all these people terminate babies with Down syndrome, there won’t be programs, there won’t be acceptance or tolerance”"

IVF: Enough Will Never Be Enough - "Supporters of unregulated IVF promised us that the technology would be limited to married couples who could not otherwise have children. Those who raised concerns about the consequences and potential societal costs of removing reproduction from intimacy and placing it literally into the hands of laboratory technicians were castigated as alarmists—people whose fears were disproportionate to the very limited changes in reproduction that IVF would bring... [Today] The human egg has become, pound for pound, the most valuable commodity on the face of the earth, with eugenically desirable (beautiful, brilliant) women paid tens of thousands of dollars for twenty microscopic eggs"

Australian sacked for Facebook rant - "O'Keefe said he was angry about not receiving his commissions and had blocked the pay manager, Kelly Taylor, from seeing his comments. But his privacy settings meant 11 of his co-workers could read the post, and Fair Work adjudicator Deirdre Swan upheld his dismissal, finding that his actions constituted a serious breach of the company's employee regulations."
This is why you don't add colleagues to Facebook

Foreign Students in Work Visa Program Stage Walkout at Plant - NYTimes.com - "Hundreds of foreign students, waving their fists and shouting defiantly in many languages, walked off their jobs on Wednesday at a plant here that packs Hershey’s chocolates, saying a summer program that was supposed to be a cultural exchange had instead turned them into underpaid labor."
They didn't do their research. The scheme IS for you to become underpaid labour.

Dog break-in scares 600 rabbits to death

Japanese Quake Survivors Have Returned $78 Million In Recovered Cash

Can Singapore wean itself off cheap foreign labour? - "Ho noted that in Australia, a builder gets a salary several times the salary of a construction worker in Singapore, although both countries have about the same per capita income. "We've had construction development experience in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and so on. When we built our hotel in New Zealand we were shocked because the number of workers we engaged there was about 10 percent of what we would get in Thailand -- because they are well trained," he said. "We haven't bitten the bullet here. We are still addicted to cheap foreign labour in industries like construction," Ho pointed out"
"here, my carpenters and contractors tell me the local ITE or poly grads work a while then give up complaining all the time"

Adidas: Adizero, Mini skirt | Ads of the World™
Damn Japs

New study: Men work as much as women do - "Throughout the world, men spend more time on market work, while women spend more time on homework. In the United States and other rich countries, men average 5.2 hours of market work a day and 2.7 hours of homework each day, while women average 3.4 hours of market work and 4.5 hours of homework per day. Adding these up, men work an average of 7.9 hours per day, while women work an average of—drum roll, please—7.9 hours per day... In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women... 54 percent of economists and 62 percent of economics students thought that women work more than men, as did more than 70 percent of sociologists. And while the gender equal-work phenomenon has been noted before, "it has been swamped by claims in widely circulated sociological studies … that women's total work significantly exceeds men's"... women do work more than men in poor countries... The most educated quarter of the American population works a combined 8.7 hours, while the lowest educated quarter works 6.3 hours—a difference of more than two hours per day. But when you compare men and women in each education bracket, the difference in their total work is no more than 20 minutes... if women with careers work more than men, while women overall work the same amount as men, then women without market jobs must work less than men"
I've seen a feminist claim that men don't work more than women *in the office*

The Realm of Zhu: female armour - "Now, these are all pretty great realistic armours. No cheesy breast holders (which would cause a weakness in the armour exactly where the heart is), all the vitals well armoured... but (you knew there was a but coming) - the hair! It makes no practical sense to have long hair in plate armour"

Friday, August 26, 2011

An amusing claim about the Trolley Problem

"We are none of us infallible--not even the youngest of us." - W. H. Thompson


"Trolley car question... It's a bizarre virtually-never-in-a-human-lifetime scenarios.

Moral dilemmas are situations where, no matter what option the agent chooses, it is a "wrong action". He must do something that he ought not to do...

morality handle the countless interactions people engage in every day. It is not meant to deal with bizarre situations that very few of us will ever encounter. When you take this system and apply them to bizarre virtually-never-in-a-human-lifetime scenarios, you find that they give no clear answer. They were not meant to give a clear answer to these types of situations.

These types of thought experiments may be interesting objects of study if one is curious about how the brain works, noting what parts of the brain seem to be activated as each person thinks about the process. They note all sorts of interesting regularities and patterns as they think about these questions but they are not interesting to the study of morality.

We can't answer that question unless we study morality itself, and we are not studying morality if, what we are studying instead, are thoughts about morality.

These are cases where people apply moral concepts in a realm where moral concepts do not apply. They are like trying to talk about sunrise and sunset from the point of view of the sun itself. They are so far out on the fringe of morality that it is possible to argue that they are not within the realm of morality at all.

I am not saying that they cannot provide useful scientific data and the people who conduct the research are doing genuine science. They are not studying morality, but they are still doing science.

Most philosophers of ethic do not consider it to be a valid objection at all. In order to raise an objection to desire utilitarian, one needs to provide evidence that some other type of reason for action actually exists."

After this I stopped replying.

Seen around

PLEASE put this as your status if you know or are related to someone who has been eaten by penguins. Penguins are nearly unstoppable, and when hungry, also breathe fire. 71% of people won't copy this into their status because they have already been eaten by penguins, 28% are hiding in their showers with fire extinguishers awaiting the coming penguinocalypse, another 3% can't do the math, and the remaining 1% are awesome and will re-post...

Handy Compare and Contrast Chart for Second Cooling-Off Day this year

One-Stop Guide to 2011 Presidential Election

New Asia Republic: "You can learn everything about each Presidential candidate, from their background to their position on various issues such as how the reserves should be safeguarded, the President’s relationship with the Cabinet and Parliament and the
Internal Security Act."

"No clear stance" appears twice for Tony Tan, but none of the rest.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The limits of authority

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.

He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."

The rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there.....", as he pointed out the location.

The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, " Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me !"

Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.

"See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish.... On any land !!

No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear......do you understand ?!!"

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.

The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs.....

"Your badge, show him your BADGE........ ! !"

On NUS Literature students

"Bachelor's degrees make pretty good placemats if you get 'em laminated." - Jeph Jacques


@preius: Somehow it seems blasphemous to go into a literature tutorial and confess you read more non-fiction than fiction..

@eisen: Why not. Non-fiction is still composed of words. And don't literature students love word play? Heheh

@preius: somehow it seems less acceptable. the stereotypical lit student doesn't read nonfic? to put it plainly they now think i am boring :(

@eisen: Bah. Don't be too disturbed by them. Many lit students I took modules with were full of fluff and nothing else.
Heck, they didn't even properly read the required readings before going to tutorial. I ended up asking many of the questions.
Yes! They were lit tutorials, the lit students were largely silent, so the history major had to rescue the lesson. Pfft

@preius: that's true, I think I've held my own fairly well in my lit mods so far, mainly by doing all the (nonfiction) readings!

Me: Hee a lit student I know keeps claiming they're very smart and can tear bs apart

@preius: haha, I said I was a Geog major and consequently suffered the "what-are-you-doing-here" look

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 4, Part 4 - Paris: Musée des Arts et Métiers

"There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted." - James Branch Cabell


France/Spain 2011
Day 4 - 20th March - Paris: Musée des Arts et Métiers
(Part 4)

After the Musée Rodin I headed to the Musée des Arts et Métiers for something completely different.

On the train I saw a lady reading a Japanese guidebook. What was interesting was that she was alone - Japanese usually travel either in tours or alone. I assuaged my curiosity and confirmed my suspicions. She also agreed that it was rare, and that she was just there for a vacation.

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"5 pièces inédites"
("5 new pieces")
I found it interesting how the men on ladders were striking the typically female pose of one leg kicking inthe air

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"Festival des Arts Martiaux"
("Martial Arts Festival")
They also have Burmese and Cambodian martial arts.

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Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of the Arts and Professions)

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Funky sunglasses (notice that she's in the shade, and that it was March)

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Lady Liberty and a kissing couple
This wasn't on purpose - it's because it's France

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Lady Liberty and no kissing couple

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"History of Nintendo"

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Everlasting calendar

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Sphere from Foucault's Pendulum, which demonstrated the Earth's rotation

Spanish Kids looking at Foucault's Pendulum (replica)
The original 28kg sphere (in the glass) was damaged on 6 April 2010 when its cable snapped, and was replaced by a copy

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On Léon Foucault

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Hall of Transportation (not the real name)
An alternative name would be: "When France was at the cutting edge of transportation technology"
The middle one should be the Blériot plane, used for the first Channel crossing in 1909

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Diesel Engine, 1892

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Vulcain Motor (used on European rockets)
I was surprised to find something less than 60 years old here (i.e. post war). They also had a car with "Europcar", "Renault Elf", "Prost" and "Michelin" on it, but there was no information panel.

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Statue of Liberty, 1875

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Hélica Propeller Car, 1921

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Benz Car, 1898
The Franco-German motor - moving Europe forward!

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Gallery from the top

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On the planes

The rest of the museum wasn't quite as interesting. For example:

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A gallery only an engineer could love
Strangely there were a lot of kids and they seemed quite engaged. Or at least not less so than in a normal museum. Perhaps it's all the same to them?

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The Batwing - Clément Ader, 1893-1897

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Engines. At least they are somewhat sexy. Plaques are left to right.
I was amused that "Injection Directe Haute Pression" got abbreviated "HDI" (the English acronym)

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I don't know what the hell these are. Well, they are "pneumatic rodless cylinders", but that doesn't really answer the question (the panel refers to the 2 in the foreground in silver).

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Hollow spheres, interlocking spheres etc

There were also fluorescent lamps, a model of an oil refinery and a model of a nuclear plant.

There were also some old batteries and things like that - chemistry is more interesting than physics, after all. Or perhaps it was because, after a room with gears, everything else was interesting.

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Delafon cell, 1889

Unfortunately they didn't have any of Galvani's frogs.

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Silver Chloride cell (Warren de la Rue and Müller), c. 1860

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2 more cells

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Electrolysis device, 1828

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Electrolysis device, 1828
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